Typically Vitamin C gets all the hype for being the healthiest vitamin for your body (1), and all the other Vitamins are important too, but if you ignore your body’s Vitamin D needs you’re going to be in a ton of trouble (more than you probably realize).
That’s because Vitamin D is crucial for your body to function (2). Your body will produce it naturally in response to sunlight – but if you don’t get a lot of natural sun, eat strictly vegan, or don’t drink milk or eat cheese , you’re very much at risk to be Vitamin D deficient.
You can find Vitamin D in a few foods , like fish, egg yolks (anchor ) , fortified dairy and grain products, and fish liver oils (3). But why is it so important?
Well, your body needs lots of Vitamin D in order to keep your bones strong – because Vitamin D helps your body to use calcium. Vitamin D deficiencies can cause rickets disease, which can cause soft bones and skeletal deformities.
And that’s not all…
What Vitamin D Deficiency Does To Your Body
Guys, it is bad news to have a Vitamin D deficiency. If you have symptoms like bone pain and muscle weakness, it could mean that you aren’t getting enough Vitamin D.
If you don’t have enough Vitamin D in your blood supply, it could lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, severe terrible asthma in children, cognitive impairment in adults, and even cancer.
Plus, Vitamin D can help protect against type 1 and type 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hypertension and glucose intolerance. It’s a super important vitamin.
Why You Might Be Vitamin D Deficient
So what are some reasons you might not have enough Vitamin D in your body?
Well, over a long period of time, you might not be eating enough Vitamin D in your diet. This is especially likely if you strictly eat vegan, as you’ll mostly find Vitamin D in animal products like beef liver, fish and fish oils, cheese, fortified milk, and egg yolks.
Another reason you could be Vitamin D deficient is because you’re not getting enough sunlight. Your body will naturally make Vitamin D in your skin when exposed to sunlight – so if you stay inside a lot, wear clothes that cover your entire body, or work in an office where you don’t get sun, you might need to get more sunlight to get more Vitamin D.
A third reason people become Vitamin D deficient is when they have dark skin. The pigment melanin reduces your body’s ability to produce Vitamin D – so if you have darker skin that could reduce the amount of vitamin D your body gets from sunlight.
Another cause of Vitamin D deficiency comes from inefficient kidneys. As we grow older, our kidneys are less efficient at using Vitamin D to help your body – so as you age your risk of Vitamin D deficiency goes up.
If you have a chronic disease like Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, or celiac disease, your digestive tract might not be able to absorb Vitamin D as effectively as it should, which could cause a deficiency.
more: Take The Quiz – Do You Know The Unique Veggies That Burn Abdominal Fat?
Finally, people who are obese are at increased risk of Vitamin D deficiency. Because your body extracts Vitamin D from your blood by using fat cells, when you have too many fat cells it disrupts your body’s natural ingestion and use of Vitamin D.
How To Treat A Vitamin D Deficiency
If you want to test and see if your body is Vitamin D deficient, the best test is to do a 25-hydroxy Vitamin D blood test. If you’ve got between 20 and 50 nanograms/milliliter, then you’ve got enough. If you’ve got less than 12 nanograms/milliliter, you’re Vitamin D deficient. If you guessed that in order to cure a Vitamin D deficiency, you have to ingest and get more Vitamin D, you made a good guess. Typically, you ingest more vitamin D through your diet and supplements.
Everyone under the age of 70 has a recommended daily dosage of Vitamin D of 600 IU (international units). If you’re over the age of 70, that daily recommended dosage is raised to 800 IU. Furthermore – the maximum safe amount of Vitamin D you can ingest in a day is capped at 4,000 IU.
Vitamin D supplements can be taken – but only if you don’t spend a lot of time in the sun, or you always cover your skin when you’re outside. Talk to your doctor about Vitamin D supplements if you’re worried about being deficient.
When it comes to vitamins, people should understand that many of them can be found in the food we eat. That is why it is so important to not eat processed foods. Get your veggies in each day and you should be fine!
I am surprised that you cannot find it in more foods.
That is a good point. It must be one of those rare ones. For me, it is all about the sun. Getting outside and feeling the warmth of the sun!
When it comes to vitamins and minerals, they are probably the thing that most people lack the most from. People are not eating natural foods and that is where the lack is coming into play.
After working in a clinic for 3 years, I can tell you the truth about vitamin D and how important it is. Many older folks need it and they look like they are in pain when they do not get it!
What if you never get it figured out that you are low on this vitamin, will it be very harmful to your body later in life?
Vitamin D is that important to your body? I would have never guessed that, thanks for clearing that up!
I would love to have my blood work done, but I do not like needles. Is there any other way that I can see if my vitamin D levels are down?
I would like to know the same thing. I also hate needles.
What if you didn’t know you were short on vitamin D? Does that mean that every muscle ache and things like that are caused by it? Should you just assume that?
Another vitamin that takes care of your bones, huh? That is good to know.
Vitamin D looks to be quite important for your body. I always thought it was just about the sun. Guess not.
Yes it does. I have been taking supplements for a few years because I am deficient and it helps me!
Vitamin D is easy to get. Cant you just walk outside and sit in the sun for an hour ;)
It looks like Vitamin D can do some real damage if you are not getting enough of it. I have aches and pain in my muscles and things like that, but I always just figured that was from being sore after a workout and things like that.
I would say that getting your blood tested might be the most important step.
I get plenty of sun, so I do not think I am deficient. Is that right?
It would not take much to get your blood tested. That will tell you exactly what you are missing or not missing.
When I go out into the sun for too long, I get hives and am itchy all the time. Because of that, I try to avoid it for too long. Does that mean I am not getting enough vitamin D?
I would like to know a list of foods that can help me keep the Vitamin D in my body. It looks like it can be very important, depending on your age, so I am going to take stock in that.
I would imagine that older people would have to deal with this a little more often than younger folks, right?
I would think the same thing here. I wonder if anyone can tell us for sure.
Vitamin D is very helpful to your body, but like many others have mentioned here, you need to make sure that YOUR body needs it.
There is so many foods out there that can keep you healthy. Getting your blood work done so that you know what you are missing would be key.
Really, I wish I knew what foods I could eat that just helped with this because I do not like to take supplements.
I have muscle aches and things like that. Maybe I should take a look at my blood work to see if vitamin D is something I need.
When I was younger I never really cared about this, but now that I am older and my body is changing, this is something that I pay more attention to for sure!
Exactly. It is funny how fast things like this can creep up after not having to worry about them your whole life.
Any vitamin deficiency is not good in some ways. You should have your blood tested and see how everything looks on the inside.
I can attest for having a vitamin deficiency and it being bad news. There are many reasons to get a physical every once in a while and this would be one of them. This way you can know what your body is missing.